So, as of this writing, I’ve finished 110 separate miniatures this year, so far.
This is not meant as a brag (humble or otherwise), but a simple statement of fact – and one that actually kind of mystifies me.
I didn’t start keeping track of the number of miniatures I finished in a given year until 2018, thanks to @JewelKnightJess on Twitter and her excellent #Painthammer hobby log sheets. That, mostly, was because for a large part of that year I was finishing up a Death Guard army and I wanted to know how many minis I had in that force, for the heck of it (nearly 200 overall, spread out over two years of work, in case you were wondering).
Then it became a sort of contest with myself to see how many minis I could complete by the end of the year, which was both good and bad, because your hobby shouldn’t really be a competition, even with yourself, and that road leads consistently to the dreaded Hobby Burnout (which, let’s be honesty, we’ve all experienced a time or two. Or five. Whatever).
This year, I started up my hobby log, but with a different attitude than last year. I honestly didn’t care how many minis I completed. What I wanted to do was know what minis I’d produced.
I started slow. I finished four minis in January, and then didn’t finish anything until the end of February – I took some time off to focus on other hobbies.
By and large, my output has been mainly small-scale – squads of a few minis here or there, or a standalone hero. My focus wasn’t on batch-painting myself into oblivion, which is the fastest way to just throw your hands up and be done with the hobby for months on end, but on having fun: finishing off minis that had been on my desk for a while, working on minis that I honestly thought it would take me years to get to. The biggest project so far was a set of terrain that included no fewer than 58 individual pieces (you bet I counted each and every one of them in my log – I had to shade and drybrush them all by hand).
Truly, I’ve never felt so satisfied with my hobby. I’m painting what I want to paint, for myself, for my own enjoyment. And not only does that make the hobby more fun, but I think it makes me more productive. The 110 minis have just flown by. That number is crazy to me.
So that’s my advice to you on this beautiful, breezy summer day as I write with the window open: Enjoy your hobby. Don’t make it work. Don’t make it your job. Make it your joy instead. You’ll be a lot happier with what you can accomplish.
About the author:
Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube